Netflix puts former Disney executive Anne Sweeney on its board

Ex-Disney and Microsoft execs join Netflix board of directors

Anne Sweeney, the former co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group, has joined Netflix’s board of directors.

Sweeney’s addition to the board was announced Monday, along with that of Brad Smith, executive vice president and general counsel at Microsoft Corp.

“We look forward to benefiting from Brad and Anne’s perspective as we continue to build our global Internet TV network,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Until she stepped down from Walt Disney Co. in January, Sweeney had overseen the company's cable, broadcast and satellite properties around the world since 2004, as the network was about to find hits with shows such as "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost."

Sweeney, who was succeeded by ABC News head Ben Sherwood, had announced her exit in March 2014 as the company's ABC network was at a critical juncture in the ratings -- ranking fourth overall. At the time, Sweeney said she would pursue work as a television director.

Sweeney previously helped establish FX Networks, where she served as chairman and CEO. Her early career included more than 12 years at Viacom’s Nickelodeon.  

Smith joined Microsoft in 1993 and has served as its general counsel since 2002. His areas of expertise include competition law, intellectual property, government surveillance and privacy.

Their appointments bring the number of Netflix directors to nine.

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